What are the signs and symptoms of basilar artery thrombosis?

Updated: Jan 11, 2019
  • Author: Salvador Cruz-Flores, MD, MPH, FAHA, FCCM, FAAN, FACP, FANA; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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Answer

The most common heralding symptoms include the following:

  • Motor deficits such as hemiparesis or tetraparesis and facial paresis - 40-67% of cases

  • Dysarthria and speech impairment - 30-63% of cases

  • Vertigo, nausea, and vomiting - 54-73% of cases

  • Headache - 40-42% of cases

  • Visual disturbances - 21-33% of cases

  • Altered consciousness - 17-33% of cases

In a few cases, convulsive-like movements along with hemiparesis (herald hemiparesis) may be the only diagnostic clues.

In very rare cases, patients may present with isolated vertigo or dizziness, with no other neurologic symptoms. The presence of vascular risk factors, headache, and the inability to walk may suggest the diagnosis of vertebrobasilar insufficiency. Any associated neurologic signs of brainstem dysfunction also support the diagnosis of vertebrobasilar insufficiency.


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